JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
There’s an Air Force Reserve intelligence squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, making valuable contributions to both the mission and the community on a daily basis.
The 718th Intelligence Squadron, aligned under the 497th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, provides combat mission-ready ISR Airmen in support of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System mission. Additionally, the squadron provides fully qualified cyber support personnel to sustain and maintain the robust communications and computer network required to fully integrate into the DCGS world-wide enterprise.
DCGS is a complex system which provides military intelligence for multiple military branches.
“Our intel professionals sit mission every month, fully integrated with the active-duty personnel,” said Maj. Katherine Hasty, 718th IS director of operations. “Our communications and cyber experts are leading projects to improve the (DCGS) architecture.”
The 718th IS has logged more than 139,000 mission hours since 2014 as an integral part of continuous operations supporting various customers. Additionally, 16 718th IS Reserve Citizen Airmen deployed in 2019 in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel and a variety of missions aimed at improving the lives of locals throughout Africa.
“My flight and I come in on drill weekend to relieve the active duty,” said 718th IS Staff Sgt. Peter Roberts. “We hone our skills to be prepared for deployment or to augment active-duty Airmen as needed.”
“I impact the mission by directly working with intelligence officers and intelligence communities downrange,” said Senior Airman Brittany Williams. “I provide intelligence to support troops on the ground and I was able to see the first-hand efforts that critically and positively affected the mission during a deployment.”
“Where we work, you can’t always tell who is active, Guard or Reserve,” said Capt. Corrine Lamberson. “That lends itself well to accomplishing true Total Force integration.”
The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 718th IS continuously bring their passion and experience from their civilian careers to improve what they do in uniform.
“We see the benefits of this experience in the leadership and management skills, the cutting-edge technological skills, the analysis skills and the strategic vision our Airmen bring to the mission,” Hasty said. “Collectively, our squadron has decades of experience in intelligence analysis, cyber security and business management. We also benefit from the fresh perspective of our Airmen who work in totally different career fields on the civilian side. This combination of depth and breadth allows our team to bring innovative solutions to the most complex security challenges.”
Senior Airman Scott Thomas is just one example of a 718th IS traditional Reservist who works in a different career field in his civilian job. He is a physics teacher and varsity golf and softball coach at Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
To make sure his teams and classes didn’t fall behind while he was fulfilling military requirements after initially joining the Reserve, he recorded six months of physics lessons, answered questions through e-mails, used Skype to virtually attend softball practices and passed his technical school course test ahead of time to graduate two and a half weeks early.
He was named his district’s softball coach of year after leading his team to a 19-2 record, the district championship and the first regional playoff game in school history.
Reservists assigned to the 718th IS are actively involved in a variety of community service efforts, including the Adopt-a-Spot beach cleanup program, Habitat for Humanity, the Mayor’s Book Club, the Kids Bash fitness event, Meals on Wheels, YMCA Bright Beginnings and support to local Veterans Administration hospitals.
Recently, a 718th IS Reservist helped save the life of unconscious man at a local event.
“We were walking back from the event when we found a guy who wasn’t breathing so we flipped him over and with help from a driver who stopped to help, we performed CPR,” said Senior Airman Ashley Gibbs. “I called later and found out he made it to the hospital.
“I just took a CPR class because I thought it would be a good skill to learn, and I could become a physical training leader afterwards, and it really helped out. Being in the military we have an effect on everybody because of the community we’re in. It’s cool to be there to help other people because they are always there for us.”
Whether it’s helping out in the community or contributing to the mission, the 718th IS is always ready.
“Most of us get advanced training (in our civilian jobs). It not only saves the Air Force a ton of money as far as training, but we can leverage this experience and skillset to resolve issues that the active duty may have difficulty with,” said Master Sgt. Jason Houghtelling. “A lot of our folks have experience with being engineers with corporations. We can hit the ground running right away. There aren’t any huge technical gaps so we can come right in, get our task listing and execute.” #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient
(Cannady is assigned to the 480th ISRW public affairs office.)